By the end of the decade, Lotus’s model range will look very different to the one you see today. A brand new SUV has already been promised by 2020 – but just as crucial to the company’s reinvention is an all-new Elise, which is scheduled to arrive in 2019. The lightweight sports car will feature a new aluminium-bonded chassis, and focus on making the model more usable day-to-day.
Lotus CEO Jean-Marc Gales told Auto Express: “We’ve not yet completely defined the car, but one thing is almost certain – I want to stick with an aluminium-bonded chassis. Look at the variations you can do; Elise, Exige and roadster versions. It is our intention to go that route with the next Elise.”
The new car will stay true to Lotus’s core values as a “very lightweight car”, and promises to have “benchmark handling” in its class. Visually, we’ve been told not to expect a dramatic redesign, but instead this Elise will simply be “modernised” and “still recognisable as a Lotus.”
Bigger changes will come in terms of practicality, with one of Gales’ key goals being to make the Elise more driveable for everyday journeys. He told us: “There are maybe five or six points that define usability, and that’s what we’ll improve.”
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The new chassis will have narrower sills to improve access, and could be lighter than the 68kg tub used on the existing Elise. Gales hinted that aluminium could replace some fibreglass panels to further reduce weight, too.
Before the new Elise arrives, a roadster version of the Evora 400 will be introduced as soon as the end of this year, Lotus also confirmed to Auto Express. It’ll feature a two-part carbon-fibre roof, which can be removed by hand and stowed between the engine and seats. This car will be mechanically identical to the hard-top, but with some tweaked rear panels.
We also proposed the idea of a lighter, stripped-out Sport version of the Evora 400, to which Gales responded: “After the Elise Sport and the Exige Sport, you can imagine what’s to follow.”
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